Today, a Google team is unveiling Qaya, a new service that will make it simple for artists to build up new webshops where they can sell their products and services directly to their audiences.
The project is the most recent to emerge from Google’s internal project incubator, Area 120, which was recently elevated in status as part of a broader reorganisation at the company that saw many of its previous projects exit to different parts of Google, including its Cloud, Search, Shopping, and Commerce divisions.
Nathaniel Naddaff-Hafrey, a founder-in-residence at Area 120 who previously worked on Kormo, a jobs marketplace aimed at the “next billion” internet users, notably those in India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, co-founded Qaya.
He came up with the idea for Qaya after hearing from hundreds of artists about how tough and time-consuming it is to create their digital enterprises. Several other Qaya team members are also makers, and they bring their own expertise with current creation tools with them.
They realised there was a demand for a flexible, no-code solution that could serve as a one-stop shop for artists to generate money from their work and better engage with their audience based on their own efforts and conversations with other creators.
Creators may create bespoke web stores offering their products and services, as well as other digital downloads, which can subsequently be linked to their YouTube Merch Shelf and integrated with Google Search and Google Shopping, thanks to Qaya’s solution. Creators may sell images, files, ebooks, digital art, photo filters and presets, productivity templates, knitting patterns, fitness videos, and much more through these stores. According to the firm, each shop may house up to 1,000 goods.
Furthermore, if the creator offers tangible goods or services on other platforms, an import option will allow them to showcase these items on their Qaya page, complete with their own branding.
Each store also receives its own unique URL, such as qaya.store/your-name or yourname.channel, that may be used in place of the links they post on social media sites using “link in bio” solutions like Linktree or Beacons.
Creators may use these services to create micro-websites that link to their numerous online presences, such as social networking channels, stores, blogs, music or podcasts, and more.
In addition, the Qaya stores, like those services, allow creators to include links to their other online profiles at the top of the page, beneath the creator’s name and bio. However, the site’s primary goal is to connect fans to the content that the creator has for sale, rather than serving as a landing page for fans to find the creator’s profile on other services.
Qaya includes Google Pay, which offers a range of monetization options such as subscriptions, tipping, and one-time payments. Qaya also provides information and data on how well the artists’ things are selling.
Currently, the product is available for free, with transactional monetization. That is, according to Google, producers will keep the “vast majority” of cash generated from items they upload and sell on Qaya.
For eligible YouTube creators who join Qaya’s beta, the company is now rolling out the YouTube Merch Shelf integrations, and in the future, hints that Qaya aims to allow creators to sell even more products, including “other types of digital goods,” which sounds like a veiled reference to NFTs, though Google hasn’t said if that’s the case.
While non-U.S. customers may join a queue while they wait for Qaya to roll out to their nation, Google claims the new service is debuting today in beta testing in the United States. Creators interested in participating in Qaya’s beta can do so by requesting an invitation on the Qaya website.